As a principal group, we have been studying about vulnerability in our role as leaders. I thought of several groups these past two months to whom I have shown vulnerability as I have opened up the campus to our parents and opened up my bag of tricks to my Aspiring Administrator group.
Opening yourself up to feedback from parent groups is always a risky, but extremely rewarding, move. I recently hosted a Principal Coffee where I discussed the district and our campus vision and goals. I was excited to get to speak with around thirty parents whom I have not necessarily seen around the campus. I shared our vision which was compiled by parents, teachers and kids throughout the school year last year, and asked for feedback in a format called Chalk Talk.
In this feedback-seeking method, parents/teachers/students are invited to give written, silent feedback on different ideas, themes, and areas in which you are seeking feedback. If you want feedback about your campus communication, place the word on the butcher sheet and ask for feedback of any kind. What you ask for is not only for people to write a comment on the paper, but to keep circulating and add affirmations, additional questions and new ideas on the sheet. I love this method because you not only get one set of information, but you get to see how many agree, disagree and a few outside the box ideas as well.
Try the Chalk Talk method with a group, whether it be students, parents, teachers, or principals. I've participated in several and it is very interesting to see what others place importance upon and what they value. It gives the facilitator glimpses of different perspectives without starting a verbal complaint session. It is a great way to ease into vulnerability.